The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

20 December 2011


Joint Media Release with
The Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister For Broadband, Communications And The Digital Economy
The Hon Trish Crossin
Senator for The Northern Territory,
The Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Member for Lingiari

Better Broadband for Regional Australia

Businesses and households across the Northern Territory and regional Queensland will have access to faster, more competitive broadband services with the opening of Australia’s longest-ever fibre optic link.

The Darwin fibre optic backbone link stretches more than 3800km from Darwin to Toowoomba, passing through more than 30 towns and will benefit more than 160,000 people across Queensland and the NT.

The opening of the Darwin fibre optic backbone link also marks the completion of the entire network construction phase of the Government’s $250 million Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP).

Backbone links are the broadband highways that connect our cities, towns and rural areas to the wider world.

This program has addressed broadband backbone blackspots across regional Australia, which have been identified as a critical bottleneck in the provision of competitive broadband services.

The RBBP has now delivered over 6 000 kilometres of fibre backbone across regional Australia, benefiting around 400 000 people and more than 100 regional locations.

The RBBP also forms part of the building blocks for the Government’s National Broadband Network in regional Australia.

The NBN is a critical long-term economic reform that will drive innovation, boost productivity and create jobs and opportunities for all Australians.

Australians deserve access to high speed, affordable broadband – and its economic and social benefits - no matter where they live.

The Darwin to Toowoomba link is the fifth and final RBBP link to be opened, in addition to links:

  1. To Broken Hill, extending from Gawler in South Australia to Broken Hill, NSW, and Shepparton, Victoria. 
  2. From Perth to Geraldton link in WA.
  3. From McLaren Vale to Victor Harbor and Mt Barker (including Adelaide Hills) in SA.
  4. Through South West Gippsland in Victoria.

The Darwin to Toowoomba link, along with the other links opened under the RBBP, will provide more competition and better broadband services for people across regional Australia.

It will position Darwin as the gateway to the Asia-Pacific as we increasingly look to the region for economic opportunities.

It will see service providers offering better value packages that deliver faster speeds and larger download quotas throughout regional locations in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Despite the unprecedented flooding and cyclones experienced at the beginning of the year, the Darwin fibre optic backbone link was delivered on budget and with minimal delay.

Nextgen Networks is responsible for the rollout of approximately 6000 km of backbone infrastructure, as well as operating and maintaining the backbone transmission links for an initial five-year period.

Towns connected to the Darwin to Toowoomba RBBP link include:


  • Darwin (NT)
  • Berrimah (NT)
  • Casuarina (NT)
  • Howard Springs (NT)
  • Nightcliff (NT)
  • Noonamah (NT)
  • Palmerston (NT)
  • Pine Creek (NT)
  • Adelaide River (NT)
  • Katherine (NT)
  • Tennant Creek (NT)


  • Mount Isa (QLD)
  • Cloncurry (QLD)
  • Marathon (QLD)
  • Corfield North (QLD)
  • Winton (QLD)
  • Morella (QLD)
  • Longreach (QLD)
  • Barcaldine (QLD)
  • Jehrico (QLD)
  • Boguntungan (QLD)
  • Emerald (QLD)
  • Blackwater (QLD)
  • Chinchilla
  • Gunnewin (QLD)
  • Roma (QLD)
  • Miles (QLD)
  • Chinchilla (QLD)
  • Dalby (QLD)
  • Oakey (QLD)
  • Toowoomba (QLD)

Regional Backbone Blackspots Program Map

More information on the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program, including maps of all routes, is available at

20 December 2011